Tunisia, located in northern Africa, is expected to record a turnout of less than 10%, which is the lowest in modern political history. It is analyzed that severe economic difficulties and opposition to the authoritarian regime caused unprecedented ‘election avoidance’.
According to the Associated Press, the Tunisia Electoral Commission announced that the turnout in the general election held on the 17th (local time) was tentatively tallied at 8.8%. The final counted voter turnout may be higher than this, but it is not expected to rise significantly. In fact, a voter turnout of less than 10% is likely.
Tunisia’s voter turnout is unprecedentedly low both domestically and internationally. Max Gallien, a researcher at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK, told Social Network Service (SNS), “Tunisia has a voter turnout rate that is only half of the previous record (set by other countries), and is likely to record the lowest voter turnout in modern world history.” said. According to the Swedish-based Institute for International Democracy and Electoral Aid (IDEA), the lowest voter turnout ever recorded was 17.8% in Haiti’s 2015 general election.
Record low voter turnout reflects the recent political turmoil in Tunisia. Tunisia was previously praised as the origin of the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ uprising and successfully democratized, which is rare in the Middle East. However, civil dissatisfaction has piled up amid severe economic difficulties and political conflicts, and anti-government protests against the people’s livelihood continued as the COVID-19 pandemic hit
. rejected parliamentary politics. In July of last year, he launched a so-called ‘rule of command’, temporarily suspending parliament and dismissing the government cabinet, and in March dissolved the entire parliament. Last July, he even accomplished a constitutional amendment that drastically strengthened the powers of the president. His move raised criticism that it was an attempt to return Tunisia to the days of dictatorship.
The Said government also amended the election law to effectively prevent political parties from interfering in elections by funding candidates. As a result, the candidates for the general elections were largely filled with self-financed businessmen, local celebrities, and tribal elders. 안전놀이터
In response, most opposition parties boycotted the election, saying it was just another way to strengthen President Said’s power following the dissolution of parliament and constitutional amendment. Citizens turned away from voting. The majority of voters have become unaware of the facets and political capabilities of candidates running for the region, and in electoral districts where candidates with financial power have registered alone, a problem has arisen in which the range of choices is virtually limited. Here, the situation of citizens who are in a hurry to make a living has decreased their interest in voting.
Najib Cheb, leader of the opposition coalition National Salvation Front, called the election a “major failure” and called for an early presidential election. They called for his resignation, saying that the worst turnout shows the president’s loss of legitimacy. He said, “From this moment on, we will regard Said as an illegitimate president.”
However, there are also evaluations that the low voter turnout can work in favor of the Said regime. Among the current candidates, there are many people who tend to support the Said regime. If there is no vote to actively check them, there is a high possibility that they will be elected. In particular, it is pointed out that citizens distrust not only the Said regime but also the entire current Tunisian political circle, including the opposition party.
The decline in voter turnout in major elections has recently been observed not only in Tunisia but also around the world. Election experts believe that behind this phenomenon are voter indifference, young voters’ disillusionment with corrupt established politics, and voter suppression by authoritarian governments.